As many of you know this month has been extremely busy across the nation in all industries. From cutting, to team roping, showing and even barrel racing! Out of all the hustle and bustle that’s been going on I haven’t gotten as much chances to compete as I’ve liked, but I have been right there getting the DL on the stuff happening in the industry. You see I work for a publication dedicated to the barrel horse industry (You heard right, barrel horses! I know I’m a bit shocked myself!) and as a result, they’ve got me flying all over the place checking on all the top competition these days. So, while all of you guys were ushering out October, with what I assume was probably a few adult-sponsored Halloween parties, I was working! Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, this new job of mine is bringing me all kinds of fun opportunities. So, while you were sporting your best Cat Woman or Duck Dynasty costumes I was flying over the US en route to Perry, Ga., for the National Barrel Horse Association World Championships!
Although the experience of covering the show I’m extremely excited about, I have to admit that I am a bit embarrassed at the same time. You see, I had never flown before! Not once in my life! Hard to believe right? Well I’ve been initiated into the life of a traveling gypsy it seems. During my second week on the job I traveled to Oklahoma for the Bar Nothin Barrel Bash and visited Jud Little’s ranch. Which, by the way, if you’ve never had the opportunity to visit I suggest you plan a trip and soon! It is one of the most remarkable places I’ve ever seen. From an immaculate landscape to a flourish of pictures, ribbons and all sorts of trophies covering the walls of the office Jud Little’s legacy is on full display throughout the entirety of his ranch.
Anyway, the NBHA World, I was sent to spend the weekend, catch a few results and hopefully get the chance to visit with some of you outstanding barrel racers who were on scene! But, like I’ve said, first-time flyer here and as I would love to say my experience was a breeze,…. Actually on second thought I suppose breezy is exactly how you could describe the trip.
I stand corrected folks, you see, I was wrong in saying it wasn’t going to be a breeze, because you see, my flight was exactly that, “breezy”. I’ve learned three things this week. No. 1 although speaking with non-English speaking Brazilians is really like not speaking at all, they are at least excited to “not” speak with you. No. 2 Nissan cars do not sound like ¾ ton trucks when started, and No. 3 I am remarkably similar to Annie Walker in the movie Bridesmaids when it comes to flying.
Let me explain.
No. 1: Halloween night in Georgia was one designed for the fans. Although featuring some tough competition the biggest crowd pleaser was they international competition. Ten countries were represented at the finals, including the USA. From as far north as Canada, all the way to Argentina the contestants were obviously taking this international competition seriously. When it was all said and done the team from Brazil were the ones to take home top honors. My thought was to catch them out back and chat with them about their runs and the win. Well, I caught them all right, only to find English was not a language they spoke. I’m sure a 5-foot American girl strutting towards them with camera in tow was probably a funny sight to see, I mean I guess it was, because they couldn’t stop laughing as I tried to ask them about their runs. Questions with expected answers was not something I could have hoped for, however, they did decipher my sign-language fake-camera gesture, posed for a quick pic and continued to laugh cheerfully. With both contestants smiling ear-to-ear I took those smiles as conclusive evidence they were proud and pleased with their win, counted my losses and moved on.
No. 2: Although working in the big city of Fort Worth I’m truly still a small-town Okie, and it shows. You see I flew into Atlanta, Ga., where I was to pick up a rental car and drive the rest of the way to the finals. As I’m checking out my Nissan match-box the rental associate hands me the keys and says “see you in a few days,” while he was still standing next to the car as I hopped in. I adjusted the seat (only 5 foot tall remember) and then thought to myself, ‘Is the car running? It doesn’t sound like it is, but I’m sure I saw him start it?’ As a result what do you think I do? That’s right, with the rental guy still standing next to my newly acquired rental I turn the key to receive an awful screeching-grinding sound! I look up to see the guy staring at me in disbelief, I pushed the button to roll up the window, mumbled (or yelled I’m unsure) a few choice curse words, slammed the little tin box into Drive and “Got the Heck out of Dodge”! So if you’re ever wondering, let me save you the trouble – Nissan’s don’t sound like trucks when they’re running.
No. 3: Bridesmaids may be one of my favorite movies. Shawna (one of my very good friends I’ve written about before) and I use to quote this movie non-stop when we were in college. By far my favorite part of the movie is when the bridal party is on the plane and the character Annie Walker has some rather unfortunate side effects from her fear of flying. Well, over the weekend I found a new kinship to Annie Walker. I may not have drank a whiskey or taken any pills to get through the flight, nor did I pretend to be Mrs. Iglesias to get into first-class, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t wishing I had one (or five or six). As a first time flyer the flight to Atlanta was fun! I enjoyed looking out the window and seeing all of God’s creation from as close to His view as I will get while I’m still on Earth. The landing was slightly rougher than I had imagined and my stomach made that “I just dropped to your toes and then right back up” feeling, but other than that it was a blast. Coming home from Atlanta another story. It was a bigger plane this time (which I’ve come to understand has different cabin pressure compared to smaller planes) and the weather was not as permissible. We hit heavy wind turbulents all the way from Atlanta to Dallas. I was dizzy, sick, sweating, you name it I was doing or having it. All I wanted was to have my own two feet on solid ground! If I could have ran through the plane cabin yelling about a ‘Colonial woman being on the wing’ to get me home faster, you better believe I would have done it in full Okie style! But that wouldn’t have helped, so I was forced to sit and sweat bullets until the plane finally landed. Moral of the story, I’m not a good flyer.
Anyway folks, it’s been an eventful weekend, and I’m sure many more will follow!